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Hotting up

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The story of the Millennium Dome grows curiouser and curiouser. Consider the revelations since the government, very sensibly, abandoned its exclusive negotiations with the Legacy group (which says it is going to sue). Up pops Lord Rogers, to announce that the Dome should remain public. Then the government announces that it has asked Lord Rogers to complete a new masterplan for the whole of the Greenwich Peninsula site to form the basis of new proposals. Next, it emerges that Sir Alan Cockshaw, chairman of site owner English Partnerships, is involved with one of the rival consortia planning to mount a bid for the site. How very convenient! But all is not over.

Along comes property consultant DTZ, which has been carrying out valuation work for British Gas, which is entitled to 7 per cent of the site value of the Dome and associated land - whatever it is actually sold for . This sort of contract clause does tend to concentrate the mind; someone will have to put a real figure on the land value, and then justify it, in court if needs be. This is bad news for supporters of Dome retention, but good news for those who want the government to maximize its revenue. Last word on this subject, for the moment, from Rory Coonan, Lottery guru and architectural fixit. 'Everyone knows that when the circus leaves town, the tent comes down, ' he opines, none too cryptically. Will Lord Falconer agree?

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